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If Soriano Can't Close, Then Who Will?

I really don't know; I'm just putting it out there. Here is a snippet from DOB's blog/column today:

[Rafael Soriano] hasn't pitched yet and we've been told several times that a stomach ailment of some sort has been the problem. True that, but he's also got some inflammation in his pitching elbow, or slightly above it where the triceps connects to the elbow.

I know this because Bobby Cox mentioned the elbow inflammation to me in passing when I was talking to him in his office an hour ago, after first reiterating that Soriano had some tests to rule out an ulcer or something along those lines that might be causing his stomach discomfort.

"True that," indeed. I hadn't thought about it, but we may be a bit lean in the "reliever who can consistently close out games" department. If I had to guess as to who would assume those duties should the big man not be able to go, I'd say Peter Moylan, followed by Blaine Boyer and maybe Tyler Yates (don't hate me for saying that). But that's how problematic this may be... Tyler Yates could be our third option at backup closer.

O'Brien warns us not to jump to any really bad conclusions with Soriano, but at the same time the fact that the Braves are trying to keep this kind of quiet is a bit unnerving. Keep in mind that it is early in spring training and extra precautions are usually taken with players, so this could just be the Braves being extra cautious, but it still doesn't give me a good feeling.

I wonder if someone we haven't thought of could come in and close; someone like Jeff Bennett. If he did indeed get in better shape this winter, he does have a lively fastball, and the Braves have never been shy about converting a pitcher who is historically a starter to a relief role (see Mike Remlinger).

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